Thursday, February 28, 2013

Find the killers of Chanda

Find the killers of Chanda
By The Post
Thu 28 Feb. 2013, 13:05 CAT

WHAT happened in Livingstone on Monday evening is sad and barbaric. The Livingstone parliamentary seat is not worth the life of even a single Zambian. Anyone who places a parliamentary seat above the life of even a single Zambian soul is not fit to lead.

Human life is a precious gift from God, the Source of all life. We must show respect for the integrity of creation. The moral character of politics, of elections cannot exclude respect for human life.

Life is sacred, a gift from God to be valued from the moment of conception until death. One cannot claim to uphold the sanctity of life if at the same time one engages in politics that end up in the loss of life.

And this is why we have insisted that politics need people with credibility, whose presence in the political arena can help bring good values to the political process.

Our participation in the political life of our country must be guided by kind, humane values of respect for human life and dignity and non-violence in political competition, in elections. Why should our elections be accompanied by violence that result in the loss of innocent lives?

We ask this question in the sincere belief that politics should not be for criminals but for those who see it as a genuine way of being at the service of others for the integral development of the country.

Politics must have as its aim the achievement of the common good and not the destruction of life. Those who engage in politics, in election campaigns must do so with care, with respect for the lives and dignity of others, including their political opponents.

Political competitors are not enemies to be killed, to be slaughtered.

A complete conversion of heart and a thorough reform of our society are needed and must be attempted soon. The use of intimidation or of physical violence by politicians and their supporters will achieve nothing permanent and good. Our country can be saved only by a genuine revolution of love, by violence to our selfish interests.

There is need for tolerance and understanding. To live together peacefully and harmoniously, we must learn to tolerate the political and other differences that do exist everywhere, even in countries older than ours.

We again stress the need for love, the very heart of the good news, as being most fundamental to our survival and growth as a nation. This message is timeless. It will always be valid - it was valid yesterday, it is valid today, it will be valid tomorrow. Only love unites. Unity is the deep desire of all who seek to walk the path of peace. A nation united in purpose, in pursuit of true ideals, genuine politics and principles such as justice, truth cannot fail to enjoy the blessings of peace.

The use of violence against anyone, by anyone, is against justice. The future of our country and the happiness of our people will depend on the love and civility we bring to our politics.

We need politics and elections that are worthy of human beings. Elections in which people are killed are not worthy of human beings.

We shouldn't allow political ambitions to blind us and prevent us from seeing the evil in ourselves. One of the greatest tragedies of the human race is that we hardly ever see and admit our own failings. We don't want to see them. Those who are hurting and killing others see no need to change; and those who are being hurt and killed get more and more resentful until their resentment bursts out into open conflict.

We cannot continue on this path of violence. What happened in Livingstone is not accidental. There was a process to it that started a few years ago. Human life was lost in a parliamentary by-election in Mufumbwe. Human life was lost in a local government by-election in Rufunsa. This is the third death in a by-election election.

Some of the parties involved in these election-related violence and deaths are the same. But impunity has continued. No one has been sent to jail for these deaths. It looks like politicians are lisenced to kill during election campaigns. If this impunity continues, more and more people will die from election campaign related violence.

We therefore urge the police to investigate thoroughly these Livingstone deaths and bring the culprits to book. And it shouldn't matter what position in life or in politics one occupies, if they are connected to any of these deaths, they should be arrested and be prosecuted.

Electoral campaigns should not be confused with a battlefield where the aim is to destroy the other. Our elections shouldn't be turned into fights for survival. They were not meant for that; they are simply a competition to serve.

It is necessary to remind all our political parties, their leaders, cadres and supporters that politics and elections are for the good of the people and the country and not for the political survival of any individual or political party. If the spirit of the primacy of the common good were to animate all our political parties, their leaders, cadres, members and supporters, we would not be witnessing the violence, the deaths which leave the public dismayed and disheartened.

There is need to remind our politicians and their supporters of the noble goals of political activity. From a Christian point of view, politics aims at the promotion of the common good and the service of all the people. How can one be at the service of all the people when one is killing people or condoning the killing of people?

Patriotic Front Monze district secretary Harrison Chanda was on Monday evening killed by identifiable political opponents. It is the duty of the police to identify them and bring them to book.

All those who made statements that bordered on inciting violence should be made to account for their contribution to that sad event that led to the assassination of Chanda. Chanda was a human being and should not be allowed to die like a dog which is thrown or buried without much ado when it's found dead by the roadside. Chanda was a dear son, husband, father, brother, nephew, uncle, grandson, relative, friend to someone. All these people want to know who killed him and why he had to die that way.

And the police have a duty to find who killed Chanda and account for his death to all these people.

This is the only way we can remove violence from our politics. While other criminal acts have received the full weight of the law, political crimes have been allowed to go unpunished. This is not a recipe for peaceful politics, especially in an immature multiparty political dispensation. Let the full weight of the law be put on the shoulders of all those who played a role, no matter how small it may be, in the death or events that led to the death of Chanda.

And as we have stated before, no politics or aggressive election campaigns can justify such murderous acts, such atrocities as the physical elimination of an innocent political opponent. No murders or any crime for that matter should be allowed to be committed in the name of politics or election campaigns. Those behind that murder should be found, arrested, prosecuted, and if found guilty sent to jail on the maximum of sentences permitted by the law.

Killings in the name of politics should never be allowed because they can do only one thing, and that is to breed counter-killings. People who kill others in the name of politics, election campaigns are no better than animals.

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